Willy Washers

This product was suggested to us by one of our users.  We thought it was a good way to transition to our new Friday category “Free-For-All Fridays”, a potpouri of user suggestions, cool stuff, and things that frankly just don’t fit into any other category.

Last year I was introduced to the game of Washers.  If you haven’t played it, the goal of the game is to get your washers into the box at the opposite side of the field.  If you get your washer into the smaller cup inside the box, additional points are awarded.  When you are done playing, the entire set closes up into a convienient carry case.

Willy Washers is a pick ’em up stick that extends to the perfect length of 30″, but collapses to a size that is small enough to fit inside the Washers box for storage.  Willy Washers also holds your washers firmly in place when not at play.

The gadget retails at $19.95 per Willy, and it has a full replacement guarantee that the magnet will work forever!

World’s Largest Otter

If the world’s largest prairie chicken isn’t enough big stuff to see in one day, then you can also make a stop to see Otto, the world’s largest otter, just down the freeway from Rothsay in Fergus Falls, MN.  

Fergus Falls is the county seat of Otter Tail county in MN.  This most certainly explains why the citizens of this fair town didn’t decide to build yet another statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  We are thankful for that.  Statues of Paul are fairly plentiful in the US, while larger than life otters are not.   We also think that Otto is kind of cute and he is most definitely photogenic.

Otto is located on S. Burlington Ave in Adams Park.  If you are in the area, you ‘otter’ stop by and see him!

Seat Heater Chair

Don’t you hate it when you are sitting around a campfire and your front side is toasty, but your back side is cold?  What you need to keep you warm is the Seat Heater chair. 

The chair is similar in design to the umbrella style folding chairs we all know and love, but also includes a heating element that heats the back and bottom of the chair.  The heater has four settings (High/medium-high/medium/low) and will last between 3-5 hours on a charge.   The battery is housed in a pouch on the side of the chair and it also has extra pockets for all of your stuff. 

For $99.99 you get the chair, a bag to store it in, a battery pack and charger.

Camping Olympics

Looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon while camping?  Why not host your own Camping Olympics.  Play some games and at the end of the day hold an award ceremony around the campfire.  The games don’t have to be elaborate.  Just use your imagination.  Here are a few ideas.

100 Yard Tandem Dash
Divide everyone up into groups of two.  Tie the left leg of one person to the right leg of the other and see how well everyone can work together to make it to the finish line.

Marshmallow Hockey
Set up goals on each end of the picnic table (mark them off with tape, or use the tablecloth clips to mark the edges).  Use a marshmallow for the hockey puck and small sticks to maneuver it into the opposing goal.

Stick Javelin
Use a long stick as a javelin.  See who can throw it the farthest.

Shoe Toss
Raise one leg off of the ground.  Balance the shoe on the top of the foot that is off the ground and without dropping it, try to toss it as far as you can.

World’s Largest Beetle

If you are staying at the Golden Eagle Ranch campground & RV Park in Colorado Springs, CO, you won’t be far from the World’s Largest Beetle.  We aren’t quite sure how to feel about this.  We love checking out all of the world’s largest things, but to tell you the truth, we think that bugs are kind of creepy.  Not only that, but this one kind of brings back memories of those bad seventies movies where a radiation leak causes things to grow to enormous sizes and torment anyone unlucky enough to be in the right place at the wrong time.

The beetle was built in the 1950’s and for a time was moved to Florida.  Now it once again stands guard at the entrance to the John May Museum Center, which features both a museum of natural history and a museum of space exploration.

So if you are in Colorado Springs and you aren’t worried  about a freak radiation burst bringing the beetle back to life, be sure to check out both the museum and the campground.  And if you make it out alive, don’t forget to come back here and tell us about it!

Tips for First Time Campers

So you have decided to take a camping trip.  Maybe it is your first time camping in a tent.  Perhaps you have been a tent camper for years and you have just purchased your first RV.  Either way, you are probably looking for some advice on how to make your first trip a smashing success.  Here are some tips that should get you through your first trip:

  1. If you are camping in a tent, practice putting it up at home before you leave.  Make sure you have all the poles, stakes, and other parts and that you are comfortable getting it assembled.  You may want to practice in the dark as well, in case you arrive late.
  2. If you are camping in either an RV or a tent, spend a night camping in your driveway or backyard.  Set up your camp the way you plan to use it at the campground.  Make a note of anything else that you will need for your first real trip.
  3. Use a camping checklist when packing your supplies.  Take the list with you when you go and add anything you wish you had brought when you are there.
  4. Begin planning early for your camping trip.  Many popular locations are reserved months in advance. 
  5. Plan your first trip close to home.   If you forget something you absolutely can’t live without, you can go back and get it.
  6. Try to arrive at the campsite before it gets dark so you can get all of your gear organized.  If there is a chance you might arrive late, see step number 1.
  7. Camp with someone who has camped before.  Ask a lot of questions (How did you keep the fire going?  How do I start my hot water heater?).
  8. Bring food that is easy to prepare.  Make what you can ahead of time and store it in plastic bags or containers.  Plan ahead and know how you will cook the food.  Will you have electricity so you can use a crock pot or electric skillet?  If not, do you have charcoal, propane or firewood?  You will also need matches, lighter fluid, campfire starters, etc… (see checklist again)
  9. Pack appropriate clothing and shoes.  Check the weather before you leave so you know how hot or cold it will be during the day and at night.   Don’t forget rain gear.  Keep in mind the activities that you will you do during the day.  Don’t forget your hiking boots if you are going to be hiking.
  10. Above all else, remember why you are there – to have fun!  It may not be a perfect trip, but if you remember this last tip you will have the time of your life!